The sources of PCBs to the Narragansett Bay estuary

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The major rivers and municipal treatment facilities that discharge directly into Narragansett Bay have been surveyed to determine the amount of PCBs associated with their discharges under dry weather conditions. The Blackstone River, which empties into the northernmost sector of the bay system, was the largest source of riverine PCBs, contributing ∼ 70% of the 12 kg of Ar 1254 transported by the evaluated rivers per year. An additional 2.5 kg, annually, may be coming from freshwater inputs not explicitly measured in this study, giving a total fluvial input of ∼ 14 kg Ar 1254 per year. A single wastewater treatment facility, the Fields Point plant, which also discharges into the northern sector of the bay, contributed 70% of the 5.9 kg year-1 of Ar 1254 attributable to municipal inputs. Therefore, an estimated 20 kg of particulate Ar 1254 enters the bay, annually, from these sources, under dry weather conditions. Ar 1254 inputs represented ∼ 70% of the total Aroclors present in the samples (i.e., Ar 1242, Ar 1254, and Ar 1260). Of note was the almost exclusive presence of decachlorobiphenyl in the river samples. © 1990.

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Science of the Total Environment, The